China rocket crash: US accused of fearing an uncontrolled rocket re-entry as space race heats up


In China, however, the country’s space administration has remained silent. for days amid criticism that allowing such a large rocket scene to fall freely to Earth was irresponsible and posed a security risk – albeit minimal – for many countries.

Finally, on Sunday morning Beijing time, the Chinese Bureau of Manned Space Engineering broke its silence, confirming that the rocket remains had plunged into the Indian Ocean near the Maldives, after most of them were consumed. in the air.

For many of those who have followed the return of the rocket, the news has been a great relief. In China, this was not only seen as a justification for the rocket’s design, but also used by state media to claim that the intense global attention was simply a Western effort to discredit the Chinese space program and thwart its progress.

“Their hype and slander was in vain,” the state-owned Global Times said Sunday in an op-ed Sunday, accusing American scientists and NASA of “acting against their conscience” and being ” anti-intellectual “.

“These people are jealous of China’s rapid progress in space technology,” the newspaper said. “Some of them are even trying to use the noises they made to obstruct and interfere with future intensive Chinese launches for the construction of its space station.”

While Beijing has long accused Western countries and the media of keeping China on a different level, Chinese officials also routinely have a nationalist response to any criticism, calling it a malicious attempt to “smear China.”

Such a fierce defensive stance is particularly evident when it comes to the Chinese space program, an important point of national pride for the Chinese public and a source of prestige for the ruling Communist Party.

China is a laggard in space exploration, not launching its first satellite until 1970, 13 years after the Soviet Union and 12 years after the United States. But over the past few decades it has quickly become a pioneer in the space race – it was the first country to land on the other side of the moon in 2019 and successfully brought back moon rocks the year. last.

Part of the defense against criticism from the West, particularly the United States, has arisen from what Beijing perceives as Washington’s hostility to block its advance beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

Since 1999, the United States has imposed controls on the export of satellite technology to China. And in 2011, Congress passed a law placing restrictions on NASA’s engagement with China.
Therefore, Chinese astronauts are excluded from the International Space Station (ISS) – the only space station in orbit and a collaboration between the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada.

As a result, China is building its own space station, the Tiangong (which means heavenly palace in Chinese). Last month, it successfully launched its first module with the Long March B5 – the rocket that caught the world’s attention.

In blaming the West for their “smear campaign,” however, Chinese state media and space experts failed to explain why the long B5 march caused anxiety among scientists around the world.

Rocket stages are often released before reaching orbit along trajectories that can be predicted before launch. And when designed to reach orbit, they’re usually equipped with devices that allow for more controlled re-entry and target the ocean. Or they are left in so-called “cemetery” orbits that keep them in space for decades or centuries. The Chinese rocket, estimated to weigh over 20 tons, is the largest space object to return to Earth unchecked in nearly three decades – and a major deviation from the practice of other space agencies.

There are also worrying precedents for what happens in such incidents: the US space station Skylab burst over the Indian Ocean and scattered debris across Western Australia on its return to Earth. in 1979. More recently, a piece of debris from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket landed on a farm in Washington State, after the second stage of the rocket broke on re-entry.

But amid growing political distrust of the United States and a lack of technological exchange, meaningful international scientific exchanges with Beijing are avoided in favor of stoking the flames of nationalist anger.

Around asia

  • More than a year after the start of the pandemic, Laos, a country in Southeast Asia, recorded its first death linked to Covid-19.
  • A major international medical journal has criticized the Indian government for ignoring warnings of a second wave of coronavirus, encouraging complacency and not being transparent about Covid-19 data.
  • In Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, the death toll from a bombing of a girls’ school has risen to 68, with more than 165 injured. The Shiite community of the Hazara ethnic minority has already been the target of terrorist attacks.
  • Meanwhile on Everest, a “dividing line” will be put in place at the top to prevent the mix of climbers from Covid-stricken Nepal and those climbing on the Tibetan side.

China’s business: Alibaba leads busy week for profits

Alibaba is reporting results this week for the first time since China imposed a record fine on the tech giant.

According to analysts polled by Refinitiv, the company is still expected to post an 11% increase in net income for the fiscal year ended March, even after factoring in the $ 2.8 billion fine imposed this spring.

Co-founded by legendary entrepreneur Jack Ma, Alibaba is one of China’s largest and most successful private companies. But the company’s shares have struggled since Beijing began tightening the screws on the country’s tech champions late last year. Regulatory crackdown on the internet industry is what Chinese President Xi Jinping has described as one of the country’s top priorities for 2021 and aims to “maintain social stability.”

Alibaba has been a particularly notable target. The fine was imposed after antitrust regulators concluded that the online shopping giant was behaving like a monopoly and amounted to 4% of Alibaba’s sales in China in 2019, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. Alibaba said when the fine was announced that it had accepted the sanction with “sincerity and would ensure that we comply with the determination.”

The earnings calendar across Asia is heavy this week, with a few other tech companies expected to report. Chinese electric car maker Xpeng is expected to report results on Thursday – the company recently reported a sharp rise in revenue for 2020 as it sells more cars, although it still has not reported a profit. The electric vehicle market in China is fierce, with Chinese and foreign companies battling for market share.

Taiwan-based electronics maker Foxconn, meanwhile, will release its results on Friday. The company – which is the main assembler of Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad – recently warned it had been hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which briefly forced it to halt production Last year. Foxconn also said it is closely monitoring the global chip shortage this year.

By Laura He

Alibaba was hit with a record fine earlier this year for acting like a monopoly.

Leopard in freedom

A leopard is on the loose near one of China’s largest cities after three of the felines escaped a zoo during the busy May 1 holiday.

Residents living near Hangzhou Safari Park, which did not inform the public for a week that the leopards had escaped, spotted the feral cats last week and alerted authorities, according to an announcement from the district government of Fuyang.

Surveillance footage posted online showed one of the leopards walking near the upscale Jinyuan Villa neighborhood east of the park on Friday.

This partially sedated juvenile leopard was captured on May 8, after escaping a week earlier from a safari park in Hangzhou, China.

In a statement on Saturday, the zoo said it was “sincerely sorry” for not alerting people earlier, adding: “We were concerned the news of the incident would cause panic.” The statement said administrators believed the leopards were all young, there was little risk, but added that this was a mistake and “we sincerely accept the criticism” made by the public.

Hangzhou Safari Park has been closed while local authorities investigate. The park manager was taken into custody.

Photo of the day

Establish a connection: A visitor rests his hand against the glass in front of the “Nexi” robot during an exhibit at the Hong Kong Science Museum on May 8, 2021. The “Robots” exhibit explores the 500-year history of humanoid robots and the art and scientific quest to understand what it means to be human.

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